Viva Topics: A Comprehensive Knowledge Management System

Employees spend an average of seven weeks per year hunting for or recreating information, according to Microsoft’s Jared Spataro. We’re prepared to bet that percentage rises considerably higher in remote work circumstances, where accessing an organization’s collective knowledge is significantly more challenging.

Consider how much more productive people could be if an organization’s complete knowledge base was at their fingertips. Producing the exact documents, chats, and contacts they required at the precise time. This functionality may appear to be too good to be true, but it is now a reality, courtesy of the recent technology of Microsoft Viva Topics.

Viva Topics is one of four modules in Microsoft Viva; the company’s new employee experience platform that debuted last year on Microsoft Teams. The app functions as a knowledge management system that makes use of SharePoint Online organization content.

Knowledge is essential in any business. Your personnel would be unable to provide a service to your clients without it. Information, on the other hand, is often held in silos or by functional teams. Although information exists within these teams, it is rarely freely available to those who want it. That’s where Topics, Microsoft Teams’ new information discovery module, can help.

What Precisely is Viva Topics?

Microsoft Viva Themes uses artificial intelligence and the Microsoft Graph to identify material and expertise within an organization, basically building a “wiki” of organizational knowledge organized into logical topics based on the subject matter.

Employees can access this knowledge using tools like Outlook, Teams, and SharePoint by marking topic keywords inside the text they are seeing. When you hover your mouse over a highlighted term, a topic card will appear with an overview of the relevant project/topic, details about any subject matter experts, and connections to related papers and/or resources. By clicking on the topic card, you will travel to a more detailed topic page.

When an employee encounters an acronym, a project, or an unknown term, a topic card provides an outline of the subject. Each topic card includes background information, documents, and subject matter experts.

There are presently four locations where you can find topics:

  • Featured on SharePoint pages
  • Topic responses in search results
  • Search within Office apps
  • Homepage of the Topic Center

To detect subjects in Microsoft 365, the Topics module uses Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI). When the app recognizes a topic and the company’s artificial intelligence deems that it has enough information to be a suggested topic, a topic page will display the information obtained through topic indexing, such as:

  • Alternative names and abbreviations
  • A brief overview of the subject.
  • People who are knowledgeable about the subject.
  • Files, pages, and websites connected to the topic.

Users can even generate new topics that Microsoft’s AI did not recognize. Because the Topics module is not part of Microsoft 365 licensing, clients who want to access the service must acquire a separate license, which costs $4 per user per month.

How Are Topics Formed?

As Viva Topics examines the information made available to it, topics generate automatically. As it discovers new information, these subjects constantly update, and they get more specific over time as users interact with them and enhance the resources and relationships they include.

Managers and/or subject matter experts can also manually create Topics and then AI can enhance them as it uncovers relevant content or links.

A Comprehensive Knowledge Management System

Topics organizes its material into topics using Microsoft graphs. Microsoft 365 currently organizes information, but there is the possibility to add content connections within an organization to offer them the ability to bring in information from other sources; there are over 130 connectors available.

Of course, not all information held by a company is suitable for general understanding. Microsoft Viva Topics inherits the same security and compliance safeguards as the rest of the organization’s Microsoft 365 ecosystem. This is to prevent sensitive material from reaching the wrong hands. Access permissions, retention labels, data sovereignty, and information barriers are all a part of it. As long as they properly deploy in the first place. 

Moreover, if appropriate, specific constraints can be introduced to the scope and availability of topic information given by Microsoft Viva Topics. Viva Topics inherits the connector’s security and compliance capabilities, so employees see only what they have the authorization to see. 

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about information security. It’s easy to use and helps you quickly populate your internal pages; no searching, no switching apps, it locates the content and provides it to you instantly! It also works seamlessly with SharePoint and Viva Connections.

Viva Topics for Preserving Knowledge

Nothing is more infuriating than losing years of experienced, hands-on institutional knowledge when a key staff member leaves. However, by using Viva Topics, it is possible to retain much of this knowledge for future use.

Because Viva Topics allows users to directly ask subject matter experts questions, it frequently uncovers (and captures) vital business information that we can not find in more formal documentation. When paired with the documents, chats, and other information generated by experts as part of their normal workflow, this results in a comprehensive, organized, and searchable knowledge library that can outlast any employment contract.

It’s also worth noting that Viva Topics relies on user comments and input to achieve the greatest results. Creating an administrative team to oversee subject recommendations, modify and publish pages, and manually generate new topics as needed improves the user experience significantly.

However, the machine learning powering Viva Topics is still in its early stages. Don’t be upset if you’re not obtaining the quality outcomes you expect just days after launching the system. In a few weeks, you’ll realize the true worth of this fantastic knowledge-sharing and management tool.